MobiSAM in the (academic) news..

By Prof Hannah Thinyane, Co-Director MobiSAM Project

In the past month, MobiSAM papers have been presented at a number of different conferences in Asia, Africa, and Europe.  This blog article aims to describe the findings of our most recent publications, in a way that (hopefully) won’t make your eyes glass over.

At the end of May, Caroline Khene presented a paper at the International Conference of Social Implications of Computers in Developing Countries (IFIP 9.4 Conference) Yogyakarta, Indonesia.  This paper described efforts to be ‘learn’ to be sustainable in ICT for development. The findings highlight the value of emergent learning and negotiation rather than rigid processes linked to predetermined success factors that are typically adopted in project-based digital citizen engagement initiatives.

Two papers were then presented at IST Africa in Windhoek, Namibia.  Ingrid Siebörger presented one paper on an evaluation of the MobiSAM visualization system, highlighting a series of user evaluations and subsequent redesigns and developments of MobiSAM.  These evaluations allowed us to test how people find the navigation (between screens) and the visualization of results (graphs, tables and maps).  The other paper was presented by Hannah Thinyane, discussing the use of different types of analysis techniques (sentiment analysis and topic modeling) to try to understand the ways that citizens communicate about MobiSAM online.  From a theoretical perspective we refer to the communicative ecologies of Makana residents, which says that we all have existing ways of communicating about particular topics and circles of people who we talk to.     From MobiSAM’s perspective, understanding this information allows us to provide information to different groups of people in ways that make sense to them.

Two papers were also accepted for the European Conference on Digital Government, held in Lisbon, Portugal.  One paper talked about the importance of building foundations through community engagement, capacity building before introducing technology in to a project such as MobiSAM.  The second paper discussed the notion of communicative ecologies to support different parts of communities further.

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